More 2020 Dem Candidates Push For Safe Consumption Sites
As the big 2020 presidential election draws closer, you can bet that addiction and the country’s opioid crisis will be hot topics for the national stage. And not surprisingly, they’re already coming up amongst the democratic hopefuls vying to grab the big ticket in November. Candidates Andrew Yang and Julian Castro have spoken out about their stances on the issue, with a particular call out for safe consumption sites.
The concept of a safe consumption site involves a designated area where people could use openly and even get access to clean needles. Though, for many, that sounds alarming, it could potentially reduce the amount of fatal overdoses since trained personnel would be close by. Additionally, the consumption site concept would include recovery resources on hand; in the hopes that people there could find their way to getting clean.
Yang spoke openly about his thoughts on the issue, lending his full support. As he told the political website, The Hill, it is a necessary step to slowing down the crisis. Not only that, he discussed decriminalizing opiates altogether.
“I would not only decriminalize opiates for personal use but I would also invest in safe consumption sites around the country,” Yang told a site interviewer. “You go home and you’re still addicted and you wind up in many cases overdosing again. We need to refer these people to counseling, treatment and safe consumption sites as needed.”
Candidate Julian Castro echoed that sentiment when speaking at a forum in Iowa. His belief was that the idea should at least be tested, in the hopes that it can make a real difference.
“I would like these communities to be able to pursue these safe consumption spaces and essentially pilot out how they work,” Castro explained. “I believe that we owe it to the effort to see how we can make sure that we avoid [overdose deaths]. The system that we have in place right now doesn’t seem to be working very much at all. Whether it’s Philadelphia or its some of the other cities that have tried it, I believe that we should allow for the piloting of these programs and that that will help us come to a determination nationally about the approach.”
Though not as outspoken as Castro and Yang, two other high-profile Democratic candidates have expressed similar concerns. Both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have shared openness with the safe consumption site premise. We imagine we’ll hear from many more in the fray as the election draws nearer.